The Public Works Department offers a water education program centered on watersheds and the water treatment process from Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay. The curriculum is designed for 5th grade students. Bellingham Water School focuses on: Lake Whatcom and its watershed, stormwater pollution, water treatment and distribution, and wastewater collection and treatment.
Part I- Classroom Visit (1 hour)
Students are introduced to watersheds and our connection to the water cycle. They are challenged to build their own city, provide water to citizens, and make sure the water is cleaned and returned to the environment to be used again. In addition, students become Lake Whatcom Investigators, discovering the unique features of our drinking water source. Students receive their Bellingham Water School science journal and a Lake Whatcom Watershed Map.
Part II- Videos and Map Activities (1 hour)
Prior to the field trip, students view the video "Go with the Flow" to introduce them to Bellingham's water system, previewing what they will experience on their field trip. They also complete a Lake Whatcom mapping activity and determine into which watershed their neighborhood and school belong.
Part III- Field trip Experience (4 Hours)
Students meet city educators at the Post Point Waste Water Treatment Facility. They follow the path of the City's wastewater as they learn about the intricate systems and processes in place to keep our citizens and the environment healthy. Students will also learn about water conservation techniques, wastewater treatment, and methods to prevent stormwater pollution.
Part IV - Classroom Presentation Preparation
Student groups watch the video "Lost in Puget Sound". The students then research one local stormwater pollutant and present their findings to their classmates with an emphasis on what they can do to prevent this pollutant from entering the stormwater system. Stormwater pollutants include oil and gas, fertilizer, pesticides, pet waste, phosphorus, sediment, litter, and soap.
Part V - Post Trip Classroom Visit (1 hour)
Students present their stormwater pollution information to city educators. When finished, they become Drain Rangers, learning simple steps to prevent stormwater pollution. They receive a Drain Ranger certificate to remind them of their pledge to keep our waterways clean. The class will review results from the Water Use Worksheet and learn how to use less water at home. Students receive a shower timer to help them achieve their water conservation goals.
Journals, worksheets, game cards posters, and more.
Public Works Natural Resources Division.